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June 15, 1978: Bob Seger in concert at the Forum.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Larry Armstrong / Los Angeles Times

June 15, 1978: After Bob Seger's concert at the Forum, Times columist Robert Hilburn wrote, "Bob Seger's music is so joyously therapeutic that you'd think the American Psychiatric Assn. would have slapped an injunction on him by now for practicing without a license."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Larry Armstrong / Los Angeles Times

April 27, 1980: Bob Seger in concert at the Forum.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Iris Schneider / Los Angeles Times

April 27, 1980: Bob Seger in concert at the Forum. His album "Against the Wind" had just been released.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Iris Schneider / Los Angeles Times

April 27, 1980: Bob Seger in concert at the Forum.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Iris Schneider / Los Angeles Times

April 27, 1980: Bob Seger performing at the Forum. This photo was published in the Oct. 10, 1981, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Iris Schneider / Los Angeles Times

April 19, 1983: Bob Seger delivers message and energy in Forum appearance. This photo was published in the April 21, 1983, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Larry Davis / Los Angeles Times

April 19, 1983: Bob Seger in concert at the Forum.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Larry Davis / Los Angeles Times

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Bob Seger concerts at the Forum

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Bob Seger concerts at the Forum

Los Angeles Times staff photographers covered three Bob Seger concerts at the Forum in Inglewood. Larry Armstrong photographed the June 15, 1978, performance. Iris Schneider was at the April 27, 1980, concert. The April 19, 1983, concert was covered by Larry Davis.

Following the 1983 concert, writer Steve Pond reported in the April 21, 1983, Los Angeles Times:

Remember mainstream rock ‘n’ roll? You may see flashy new wave more often if you get your “rock” from sources like MTV, but Bob Seger hasn’t forgotten. At a time when many mainstream rockers are fading from prominence, Seger is unquestionably resurgent.

He opened a three-night stand Tuesday at the Inglewood Forum and followed his strongest album in years with a no-nonsense, bracing show that demonstrated just how spirited, celebrative and substantial mainstream rock can be.

In a way, Seger has always been the quintessential Midwestern, working-class rock hero. Not only did he work for a decade before hitting the big time with “Night Moves,” but the bearded, long-haired, solidly built rocker looks as if he might just as easily have become a gas-station attendant.

His music has always been in the classic mold: guitar-dominated, blues-based, gravelly voiced and aimed at listeners who have grown up with the rock tradition. These days, though, Seger also knows that the simple idealism that was the underpinning of those traditions has eroded. His new album, “The Distance,” is infused with that awareness.

Seger doesn’t preach, but reaches for simple examples. In “Makin’ Thunderbirds,” for instance, his image–the decline of the big American car–speaks volumes about the changes in this country.

Backed by a largely new six-piece band as potent as any he’s ever fronted, Seger ripped through the two hours and nearly two dozen songs with a no-nonsense fervor. At first the pacing was predictable, if effective: He’d tear through two blistering rockers, then slow down and casually stroll around the stage as he coined one of his nostalgic mid-tempo hits…

There’s nothing wrong with the virtues Seger has always shown: a terrific rock voice, a deft touch with nostalgic tunes, a commitment to old-fashion sweat. But the performer who appeared at the Forum this week has added an extra dimension to his music, a commitment to saying something far more than “let’s rock” to his audience…

scott.harrison@latimes.com

Follow Scott Harrison on Twitter and Google+

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